Drought deepens across southeast Colorado #codrought

usdroughtmonitor02122013.jpg

Click on the thumbnail graphic for the current U.S. Drought Monitor map.

From the National Weather Service Pueblo office:

…DROUGHT DEEPENS ACROSS SOUTHEAST COLORADO WITH SOME IMPROVEMENTS IN SOUTHWEST COLORADO…

SYNOPSIS…

JANUARY OF 2013 WAS A RELATIVELY COLD AND DRY MONTH ACROSS THE STATE…SAVE FOR PORTIONS OF SOUTHWESTERN COLORADO…WHICH SAW ABOVE NORMAL PRECIPITATION…THANKS IN PART TO TWO STORM SYSTEMS WHICH BROUGHT ONE TO THREE INCHES OF SNOW WATER EQUIVALENT TO PORTIONS OF THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE AT THE END OF THE MONTH.

WITH THIS IN MIND…THE CURRENT US DROUGHT MONITOR HAS EXPANDED EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT (D4) CONDITIONS TO INCLUDE SOUTHERN EL PASO COUNTY…MOST OF PUEBLO COUNTY AS WELL AS EXTREME EASTERN HUERFANO COUNTY. THE CURRENT DROUGHT MONITOR ALSO INDICATES SOME IMPROVEMENT IN THE DROUGHT ACROSS PORTIONS OF SOUTHWESTERN COLORADO…WITH MODERATE DROUGHT (D1) CONDITIONS NOW BEING DEPICTED ACROSS SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL PORTIONS OF MINERAL COUNTY.

EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT (D4) CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO BE DEPICTED ACROSS CROWLEY COUNTY…OTERO COUNTY…KIOWA COUNTY…MOST OF BENT AND PROWERS COUNTIES…AS WELL AS CENTRAL AND NORTHEASTERN PORTIONS OF LAS ANIMAS COUNTY.

EXTREME DROUGHT (D3) CONDITIONS REMAIN ACROSS EXTREME NORTHERN LAKE COUNTY…EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN CHAFFEE COUNTY…EXTREME NORTHWESTERN SAGUACHE COUNTY AS WELL AS FREMONT COUNTY…SOUTHWESTERN THROUGH EAST CENTRAL TELLER COUNTY…MOST OF THE REST OF EL PASO COUNTY AND SOUTHWESTERN PUEBLO COUNTY. EXTREME DROUGHT (D3) CONDITIONS ARE ALSO INDICATED ACROSS CUSTER COUNTY…THE REST OF HUERFANO COUNTY…MOST OF THE REST OF LAS ANIMAS COUNTY…EXTREME NORTHEASTERN COSTILLA COUNTY…EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN BENT COUNTY…EXTREME SOUTHERN PROWERS COUNTY…AND NORTHERN AND EASTERN PORTIONS OF BACA COUNTY.

SEVERE DROUGHT (2) CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO BE INDICATED ACROSS THE REST OF LAKE…CHAFFEE AND SAGUACHE COUNTIES…NORTHERN MINERAL COUNTY…RIO GRANDE COUNTY…CONEJOS COUNTY…ALAMOSA COUNTY…THE REST OF COSTILLA COUNTY…NORTHERN TELLER COUNTY AND EXTREME NORTHWESTERN EL PASO COUNTY…EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN LAS ANIMAS COUNTY AND THE REST OF BACA COUNTY.

MORE INFORMATION ON THE US DROUGHT MONITOR CLASSIFICATION SCHEME CAN BE FOUND AT: WWW.DROUGHTMONITOR.UNL.EDU/CLASSIFY.HTM

SUMMARY OF IMPACTS…

THE PERSISTENT SEVERE TO EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT CONDITIONS…BROUGHT ON BY VERY WARM…DRY AND WINDY WEATHER EXPERIENCED ACROSS THE REGION OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS…HAS IMPACTED SOUTH CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST COLORADO IN MANY WAYS. THESE IMPACTS INCLUDE INCREASED WILDFIRE ACTIVITY AND DANGER…FAILED AND POOR YIELD ON NON IRRIGATED CROPS…CATTLE LOSS AND ABANDONMENT…AS WELL AS QUESTIONS ON WATER AVAILABILITY AND WATER RIGHTS.

THE LATEST COLORADO WATER AVAILABILITY TASK FORCE REPORT INDICATES MANY MUNICIPALITIES AND WATER PROVIDERS ARE CLOSELY WATCHING THE SITUATION AND ARE PREPARING TO RESPOND SHOULD THE DROUGHT CONDITIONS PERSIST OR WORSEN THROUGHOUT THE SPRING AND SUMMER.

FIRE DANGER IMPACTS…

PERSISTENT DROUGHT CONDITIONS…CURED FUELS AND LACK OF SNOW COVER HAS LED TO INCREASED FIRE DANGER ACROSS THE REGION. A CONTINUED LACK OF MOISTURE WILL LIKELY KEEP FIRE DANGER MODERATE TO HIGH ACROSS THE AREA…AND COULD LEAD TO MORE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS INSTITUTING FIRE RESTRICTIONS OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL MONTHS.

THE LATEST INFORMATION ON FIRE BANS AND RESTRICTIONS CAN BE FOUND AT:

WWW.COEMERGENCY.COM/P/FIRE-BANS-DANGER.HTML

AGRICULTURAL IMPACTS…

THE LATEST CPC AND VIC SOIL MOISTURE CALCULATIONS ARE SHOWING SOME IMPROVEMENT IN SOIL MOISTURE CONDITIONS ACROSS SOUTHWESTERN COLORADO AND INTO THE SAN LUIS VALLEY…THOUGH CONTINUE TO INDICATE DRIER TO MUCH DRIER THAN NORMAL CONDITIONS ACROSS MOST OF SOUTH CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST COLORADO. THE LARGEST DEFICITS IN SOIL MOISTURE REMAIN DEPICTED ACROSS THE LOWER SLOPES OF THE EASTERN MOUNTAINS THROUGH THE SOUTHEAST PLAINS.

CLIMATE SUMMARY…

ALAMOSA HAD A VERY COLD START TO JANUARY…WITH THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE THROUGH THE 18TH OF THE MONTH COMING IN AT AN AMAZING 18 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL. ALAMOSA WAS FINALLY ABLE TO BREAK STUBBORN INVERSIONS AND WARMED UP THROUGH THE LAST WEEK OF THE MONTH…WITH THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR THE MONTH AS A WHOLE COMING IN AT 11.7 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL. THIS STILL MAKES JANUARY OF 2013 THE 5TH COLDEST ON RECORD IN ALAMOSA. ALAMOSA RECEIVED 0.07 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION AND 1 INCH OF SNOW THROUGH JANUARY…WHICH IS 0.19 INCHES AND 3 INCHES BELOW THE MONTHLY AVERAGE…RESPECTIVELY.

THE AVERAGE JANUARY TEMPERATURE IN COLORADO SPRINGS WAS 0.2 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL. COLORADO SPRINGS RECEIVED 0.18 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION AND 3.2 INCHES OF SNOW THROUGH JANUARY…WHICH IS IS 0.14 INCHES AND 2.4 INCHES BELOW THE MONTHLY AVERAGE…RESPECTIVELY.

THE AVERAGE JANUARY TEMPERATURE IN PUEBLO WAS 1.1 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL. PUEBLO RECEIVED 0.21 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION AND 3.8 INCHES OF SNOW THROUGH JANUARY…WHICH IS 0.14 INCHES AND 2.7 INCHES BELOW THE MONTHLY AVERAGE…RESPECTIVELY.

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